August 1, 2017
As I sat in the waiting room of my doctor’s office each month, many thoughts ran through my mind. I was 19, almost 20, and knew nothing about pregnancy except what I learned in my high school Sex Ed classes. I didn’t know how important it was to choose a supportive, caring OBGYN. I had never even heard of a midwife at that time either . Needless to say I was very limited in my options for providers for my surprise pregnancy. I selected a doctor who took my insurance and was in my city, nothing more than that.
I would wait patiently for my doctor who would soon be delivering my baby and who would be present on the single most important day in my life. I thought to myself, “is he going to spend 5 minutes with me this time or even less”. I wondered if he would remember my name without looking on the chart like he usually does. I wondered if he would be rude this time or just ignore me. I thought to myself, “are all doctors this bad? Does he hate his job, does he hate me?”
I was treated like a baby having a baby!
Every appointment was the same. Check my weight, check my blood pressure, check the baby’s heartbeat and then out the door. No small talk, no genuine concern for me or my baby, just stats and tests and exams. The only time our conversations would last more than a few minutes is when he would reprimand me for my weight gain. One month I gained 10 pounds and he scolded me like I was a child! In reality I was a child, and needed guidance and education about proper nutrition during pregnancy. This was 1998 and there was no Google, I had to read books and take classes to learn. He never once recommended a book, a class or offered suggestions on what to eat and what not to eat.
I needed a doula before I knew what a doula was!
When it came time for me to ask questions, he acted like I was bothering him. I was a first-time mom, a young first-time mom and needed help. I wish I would have had a doula back then, but I didn’t. I was on my own with a doctor who acted irritated if I called the office with a concern, and often didn’t call me back. I started asking the nurses questions because I hated having to talk to the doctor because of the way he treated me. I am so thankful for the nurses who answered my questions and didn’t treat me like a dumb kid!
What He Taught Me!
This OBGYN has long since retired and even though he wasn’t the best OBGYN, he did teach me so much. He taught me exactly what NOT to do when working with pregnant women. As a doula I am attentive, caring, and available! These are three things he never was. I answer my phone, I return calls, I answer questions and I pay attention to what my clients need. I offer suggestion on books to read and classes to take. I never take more clients than I can handle. I don’t overextend myself and don’t make clients feel like they are a burden to me.
Individuals who work with pregnant women need to be patient and need to be supportive. Looking back, with the knowledge I have now, I wish I put a lot more effort into the important decision of choosing a great OBGYN (or midwife). Everything in life is a learning lesson and I am thankful for the lessons I learned from a not-so-great OBGYN!
This blog written by Lisa Raynor, a childbirth doula and mom of 3 boys in Coral Springs, FL. Over the years, Lisa has work with many families, including first-time moms, VBAC, teen moms, high risk moms and moms working with fertility doctors. Lisa offers compassionate support to moms in Boca Raton, Parkland, Coral Springs, Ft. Lauderdale and Surrounding areas. Lisa has attended births at every hospitals in Broward County and Boca Raton. Call today to schedule your complementary consultation 954-914-3933.